Leadership / Anger / Emotional Intelligence / Motivation

Leadership Moment — 11 Aug 23

Disrespected . . .

Mark McMillion
3 min readAug 11


Pogrebnoj-Alexandroff, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Red oval added by author.

Maybe it’s the way I was raised, or maybe it’s where I was raised, or maybe it’s just me, but my default response to being disrespected is anger. Not tweaked, not irked, not annoyed — angry.

It might be a driver cutting me off in traffic or something more personal, but my gut reaction is anger. The more personal it is, the more it tends to rage.

Which is stupid.

One of my mantras over the past several years has been: anger is not a productive emotion. This has helped me immensely because I do like to be a productive person. I like to be part of the solution, not the problem. Anger tends to push us towards the latter.

But it happened again today. I was alone when I found out. This is much better for me as it allows me to manage it privately instead of in front of others. As you may guess, I’m not a very good poker player. I see aces, I smile. I see no pairs, I grimace.

As I was processing the situation, I was on my way to workout. Exercise for me is extraordinarily cathartic. I expend energy and I think.

Today my first response was you can get hurt or you can get angry. Hurt as in your feelings. As soon as the thought popped into my head, another little voice piped up, hey, anger isn’t a productive emotion. Wait a second, who is that and what are you doing in my head?

Just kidding, I sometimes have competing voices in there. They can get pretty heated but have never come to blows. Yet. Or maybe they have! Maybe that’s what causes headaches . . . But I digress.

So, the first draft wasn’t great but . . . good ideas often rise from bad ones. Here’s what I came up with.

When you’re disrespected:

you can get your feelings hurt;

you can get angry;

or you can get determined.

Let’s unpack that a little bit. First of all, it’s natural to get your feelings hurt. After all, you bust your rear end and no one has even noticed? Come on, who’s…



Mark McMillion

Retired Army officer with two tours in Baghdad, married with four kids. Proud West Virginian and West Point grad. Works available on Amazon.